In July 2015, during our Mahabaleshwar ride; I happened to mention my dream of riding to Kanyakumari (the southernmost tip of India and back) to Tushar and Shohrat over lunch break.
I uttered and forgot about it, but Shohrat didn’t. He went back home and for next couple of months laid down a detailed plan and announced it on our WhatsApp group on a busy afternoon in October. The plan was based on 10 days ride. Tushar was out as it was not possible for him to get the leaves during the agreed period. Shohrat was doubtful of me so he had planned most of the trip as a solo ride.
I was IN the moment he shared the plan. He e-mailed me the excel sheet that detailed every single aspect of the trip including cities that we will cover, the distance and the best route between them with the advance booking of the hotels for night halts.
Thanks to this detailed plan, getting 10 days leaves from office was not so difficult. Convincing my family members was the most difficult part though. It was obvious for them to be worried and skeptic about the whole idea knowing the Indian road scenario and the conditions of the highways. But taking a note of my determination, even they teamed up and helped me to get the arrangements in place.
Finance was now the big elephant in the room. Even before the idea of Kanyakumari stuck me, I had managed to get the Riding jacket, pants, gloves and shoes in place. (Mind you, Motorcycle riding is an expensive hobby!). Hence, I was under the impression that buying the rest of the stuff would easy on my wallet. But that was not the case. I had to buy the saddle bag, all-weather gloves, sleeping bag, extra set of clothes, Bluetooth communication system for helmet and a whole lot of other small items.
Not to forget about my bike that needed servicing to restore it to its best possible condition, that meant intentionally replacing some of the components that still had some life left but not enough for the entire trip. On addition to this, we had to carry extra spares that might be needed in case of a breakdown.
I believe that I am a man of extensive research, but often I overdo it. Hence most of the days before the ride, people around would find me googling about the stuff that I had to buy, reading the reviews, taking notes and walking into all the possible biking and adventure sports store. I was only focused on the trip and was barely able to concentrate on anything else in life.
Shohrat and I had prepared checklists on Google drive that both of us would update. Starting from the November (2015), we would meet once in the week to updated each other with progress. As mentioned earlier, Shohrat had prepared a neat plan pertaining to route that he would explain to me in every meet. The best part of about his plan was the route! The goal was not to reach Kanyakumari, but to ride through the scenic cities of South India. We had planned to ride along the east coast of India (Andhra Pradesh) to reach KanyaKumari and then ride up along the west coast (Kerala).
Not only along the coasts, but we also tried to accommodate the roads passing through wildlife sanctuaries and the hill stations in South India. We were prepared to do 400 km on an average per day wherein 630 km was meant to be done on the first day itself while just 100 km on the 7th day.
With each passing day, the excitement was building up. I was struggling to procure the required items. In my office, I was busy creating a handover plan so that my absence would not cause any damage to my projects. By the end of December, I had exhausted both the plastic as well as hard cash. Having invested a quarter of the year, all of my fortune in the planning of this trip, there was no way of backing out even when I had cold feet which were very frequent then!